Bon pour vous, France! France legalizes gay marriage.

#62
Being Biblical doesn't mean it was approved by God, though.

However, the polygamy angle is a worthwhile example to consider. Regardless of whether you think it should be made legal or not, is it a lifestyle you would actively encourage your children to pursue? If your daughter wants to marry a man who currently has five wives, would you encourage and applaud her actions? Why or why not?

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone here from their opinions; I'm simply trying to understand the reasons why some behavior is considered acceptable and other behavior is not. We've heard from people that have stated their beliefs are based on their faith, but I wish those from the non-faith-based crowd would describe what non-violent behavior they consider to be immoral, and why. Is polygamy immoral? Adultery? Prostitution? Cheating on your taxes?


Many of God's men in the OT were polygamists or had concubines and God never rebuked them for it

God gives His law to Moses. One would assume that whatever God says in His law is therefore condoned by God. Why would God actually command things or regulate matters about which He disapproves?

God gives a command specific to polygamy:

Exodus 21:10: ″If he take another wife for himself; her food, her clothing, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish"

There are numerous other examples in the Bible of commands given directly to Moses by God concerning various types of marital relationships (Levirate marriages, forced marriages to one's rapist, prisoner of war marriages).

One may argue that by NT times, most of these customs had decreased and that the NT promotes a different marital ethic. Nevertheless , God still commanded these things in the OT, directly to Moses. and so must have approved of them, at least in those days.

When people refer to "Biblical marriage", they really need to specify WHICH Biblical marriage to which they are referring; there are several varieties.
 
#63
As far as the question of where do non-theists get their morality, I assume you would want an atheist to answer. I would not describe myself as an atheist; I'm questioning.

Also, I have read a (very) little bit about evolutionary psychology and am interested in reading more about the philosophy of ethics. But I don't currently have enough information to declare with any confidence a personal opinion on the matter. This question will lead to more reading though so hooray! Learning is good.

What I can say is that however one defines morality and wherever it comes from (God, evolution, trial and error, all of the above, etc), it isn't as simple as a set of do and don't rules.

Even religious people who ground their morality in their various sacred books cannot agree precisely. Even within a particular religion, there is often vehement disagreement over what is moral or immoral. And morality is not the exclusive provision of religious people either.

In the meantime, yay France, Rhode Island and Jason Collins!
 
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lucas mccain

Triple Platinum
#64
Many of God's men in the OT were polygamists or had concubines and God never rebuked them for it

God gives His law to Moses. One would assume that whatever God says in His law is therefore condoned by God. Why would God actually command things or regulate matters about which He disapproves?

God gives a command specific to polygamy:

Exodus 21:10: ″If he take another wife for himself; her food, her clothing, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish"

There are numerous other examples in the Bible of commands given directly to Moses by God concerning various types of marital relationships (Levirate marriages, forced marriages to one's rapist, prisoner of war marriages).

One may argue that by NT times, most of these customs had decreased and that the NT promotes a different marital ethic. Nevertheless , God still commanded these things in the OT, directly to Moses. and so must have approved of them, at least in those days.

When people refer to "Biblical marriage", they really need to specify WHICH Biblical marriage to which they are referring; there are several varieties.
Regarding OT rules on polygamy... are you a B.C. Hebrew?
One of the challenges of reading scripture, OT in particular, is to see what it meant then, in its cultural context, and apply its timeless principles today.

God gave certain laws regarding marriage, but that doesn't mean it was His recommended way of doing things. NOT ONE INSTANCE even remotely permitted HOMOSEXUALITY. Not one. No matter how you try to interpret it. Also, I don't recall any instance where something good came from polygamy.

If you want a picture of "Biblical marriage", look to Genesis again. God made MAN and saw that it wasn't good for him to be alone. God then made WOMAN. Let me repeat... God made WOMAN. Not another man. He made woman for INTIMATE COMPANIONSHIP.

God's intention for marriage is not what always makes us necessarily "happy", but rather it is what can help us grow in holiness (there is a difference). This cannot happen with homosexual marriage. It's simply not the way God planned it according to Genesis and other passages.
 
#65
Regarding OT rules on polygamy... are you a B.C. Hebrew?
One of the challenges of reading scripture, OT in particular, is to see what it meant then, in its cultural context, and apply its timeless principles today.

God gave certain laws regarding marriage, but that doesn't mean it was His recommended way of doing things. NOT ONE INSTANCE even remotely permitted HOMOSEXUALITY. Not one. No matter how you try to interpret it. Also, I don't recall any instance where something good came from polygamy.

If you want a picture of "Biblical marriage", look to Genesis again. God made MAN and saw that it wasn't good for him to be alone. God then made WOMAN. Let me repeat... God made WOMAN. Not another man. He made woman for INTIMATE COMPANIONSHIP.

God's intention for marriage is not what always makes us necessarily "happy", but rather it is what can help us grow in holiness (there is a difference). This cannot happen with homosexual marriage. It's simply not the way God planned it according to Genesis and other passages.

FINALLY! We agree on something..... one must look at cultural context. That includes trying to parse ancient cultural dictates on sexuality and figure out how they must be viewed in modern times.

Regarding polygyny (which is actually what is described in the Bible, rather than polygymy), you have to look at all of scripture. Many of God's men were involved in these kinds of relationships (shall I list them?) and not only does God never rebuke them for it, they are often blessed and held up as pillars of the faith. And if God himself gives Moses laws regarding certain types of relationships (hey, rape victims? Guess what? You have to marry your attacker and - joy of joys - he can never divorce you), then it is pretty safe to say that God approves of said types of relationships, being that he directly gave these laws to Moses.

I don't support polygyny ( Ladies, I do not like to share ) but it is undeniable that it is in the Bible.


It is fine that you want to pick and choose in the Bible. Ignore the polygyny. Ignore the incestuous sex. Ignore the times virgins were forced into unions with the people who just murdered their fathers, mothers, brothers and friends. Ignore the slave rape. Etc. Pretend that "doesn't count" because it is inconvenient to consider those verses in the Bible. Go back to Adam and Eve and say that is the model for marriage. Point out that Jesus did the same ( Jesus does reference Adam and Eve when discussing divorce. I assume, Lucas, that you are equally against divorce and think it should be illegal, too, since Jesus discussed divorce. What?? You can be against divorce and still think it should be legal??? Hmmmmmm....... then maybe you can realize gay marriage won't cause the Earth to explode. When it is the law of the land, you will be free to disagree with it). Ignore all the many,many, many other types of sanctioned marriages and relationships described in the Bible. Choose what fits your worldview. Pick and choose which verses to focus on and which you will disregard. Everyone does that because it is necessary when things are often contradictory and murky. And the Bible must be interpreted. Fine.

But at the very least, acknowledge that others are doing exactly what you are doing: applying a hermeneutic to their Bible interpretation, parsing through often contradictory verses, looking at historical context and overriding principals. And in doing so, coming up with an entirely different conclusion than yours.
 
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#66
For the record, I do not think divorce is always wrong. I just brought it up in my previous post to make a point. Jesus spoke quite explicitly about divorce, calling remarriage adultery. People ignore those teachings all the time. And most conservative evangelicals recognize that the civil government can permit divorce while churches can teach another thing altogether to their members. Why don't these same evangelicals realize that their churches will still be free to teach that homosexuality is a sin even when gay marriage is legalized? Churches will still be able to define marriage as they see fit. They seem to understand this distinction when it comes to divorce but not with marriage equality. I think there is a tendency to focus heavily on homosexuality because, for most of us, that isn't "our" sin. It's so easy to get outraged about the "sin" of others and ignore the ones that directly affect yourself. And the government doesn't have to care about what sacred books say when deciding the law.

But for the record a second time, I do not believe homosexuality is a sin either.

Lucas, I know there is nothing I could say to convince you it isn't. Okay. But you will still be able to attend your church, hold your opinions, remain married to your spouse, etc. when gay marriage is legalized in the future. As long as you don't break any laws, not much will change for you.
 
#67
Skeeter, while I don't always agree with your answers, I admire the amount of thought and consideration you normally put into them. This response, though, is surprising. It makes it appear that you are only willing to criticize the beliefs of others, without allowing the same scrutiny of your moral code.

Whatever the reasons for your reluctance, though, I have enjoyed the conversation. Thank you for your insights.
Thanks. Me as well. I do rather enjoy being pushed through a thought process.

I think I hesitate because I'm not certain where it comes from. I don't know why I have the urge to help someone up who falls, help an animal in pain, which sometimes means ending its life. Nor do I know why I take such joy in participating in contact sports like rugby. I find people who do not care for children repulsive and wouldn't lose sleep if they stop consuming oxygen. I can only say I suppose these feelings are natural as I wasn't raised to follow certain prescriptions. But I can't prove that they're natural. I don't think they're molded by the society I live in since things like age laws are meaningless to me in the sense that an irresponsible individual does not wake up a responsible individual on his 21st birthday. Additionally, alcohol and nicotine do more damage when someone is young and still biologically developing than when older. So my personal feeling is someone should be well into his/her 20's if they want to participate in those things and that view is strictly from a biological perspective and nothing to do with any moral view.

So I think people are capable of intelligently designing the type of society they want to live in through reason alone. We used to settle arguments by gunslinging in the street. religious and non alike did it. We don't do it anymore and again, it's not that we don't do it for religious/non reasons. Not really sure why we find it unacceptable now, but the general consensus is it's frowned upon. Maybe it's simply because people feel guilty when they kill someone else, and not b/c it's a sin. They simply feel bad.

I do think a lot of non-believers are more critical of their own beliefs than folks who identify with a religion, and in no small part arrive at those beliefs because they were so critical. Religion is more about turning untested belief into unshakeable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. It does not accept mere questioning well, much less criticism. "Blasphemy" is an act of expression that has historically been outlawed to prevent religion from losing arguments. Certainly in some countries, religion is more accepting current-day than in the past when it had much more power. Look at a lot of muslim countries and it's like looking into a window of the past at christianity to great extent.

While this is a short digression from the topic at hand, I contemplate things such as if my doctor worked in "mysterious ways," would I continue going to him? God loves us so much that he created hell - just in case we don't love him back? The creator of the universe and all within it went to great trouble to create the foreskin. Then turns around and demands we cut it off. Makes sense. The innumerable contradictions we observe all around us. There was a sharp decline in miracles after the advent of the camera, only to pick back up after the advent of Photoshop. And so on with a number of thoughts that are both serious and comical that I won't bother boring people with.

Point being when the pile of contradictions and inconsistencies mount, reason forces one to discard the silliness - whether it's someone's child is going to hell b/c they don't believe in god or "love" comes with conditions. I do believe that people cling to it not so much because they actually believe the silliness - and I don't think the people are silly, only their beliefs - but because they don't have something to replace it with and this is a case of something is better than nothing.
 
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#68
Hey, Lucas! This one is for you. It is off topic but - hey - when did that ever stop anyone on FOL? Bunny trails are where we all hop eventually.

Lucas, you are a regular in this part of the FOL neighborhood, involved in a lot of debates. True for most of us here, I suppose. So what people generally see of each other is our argumentative side.

Let's put that aside for a moment. I'd like to know what it is that you love about your faith and what is the best part to you? NOT as an opportunity to proselytize and NOT so anyone can debate your beliefs but just to tell what resonates most with you about your Christianity. It's a personal question so you can tell me to mind my beeswax and I won't be offended. But people's stories are fascinating and it might be nice to have the chance to write/hear about your faith in a positive manner, rather than a defensive one.

As I continue my own questioning about what I believe and don't believe, it is interesting to hear people's stories, both stories of why people let go of faith and why people embrace it.
 
#69
Hey, Lucas! This one is for you. It is off topic but - hey - when did that ever stop anyone on FOL? Bunny trails are where we all hop eventually.

Lucas, you are a regular in this part of the FOL neighborhood, involved in a lot of debates. True for most of us here, I suppose. So what people generally see of each other is our argumentative side.

Let's put that aside for a moment. I'd like to know what it is that you love about your faith and what is the best part to you? NOT as an opportunity to proselytize and NOT so anyone can debate your beliefs but just to tell what resonates most with you about your Christianity. It's a personal question so you can tell me to mind my beeswax and I won't be offended. But people's stories are fascinating and it might be nice to have the chance to write/hear about your faith in a positive manner, rather than a defensive one.

As I continue my own questioning about what I believe and don't believe, it is interesting to hear people's stories, both stories of why people let go of faith and why people embrace it.
That's part of the type of thing I was hoping to hear when MM was proposing people get together to discuss. For example, I'm more motivated to make use to my day-to-day time because I believe my time is limited based on what I observe happen to all life over time. It sucks, but I have to accept the reality of it. And once I did, there's a soothing calm that sets in and pushes out anxiety.
 
#70
That's part of the type of thing I was hoping to hear when MM was proposing people get together to discuss. For example, I'm more motivated to make use to my day-to-day time because I believe my time is limited based on what I observe happen to all life over time. It sucks, but I have to accept the reality of it. And once I did, there's a soothing calm that sets in and pushes out anxiety.

I have had to let go of some of the things I formerly believed because, upon examination, certain things are just insupportable. Some of these things were more difficult and painful to give up than others.

The whole afterlife deal? I am still grappling with it because it is comforting to think I might get to see my parents again (both deceased). But some of the same things that I learned that cast doubt on Hell, also raise questions about Heaven. Well, that just stinks! Still, I can also see that if this life is all we get, it is imperative to really live, to contribute to the greater good while you can, to love other people as fully as you can.

Anyway, I don't have it all figured out yet. Still questioning....
 

lucas mccain

Triple Platinum
#71
FINALLY! We agree on something..... one must look at cultural context. That includes trying to parse ancient cultural dictates on sexuality and figure out how they must be viewed in modern times.
I don't agree with your last sentence. You are simply trying to justify foundational truths set forth in the Bible to fit your own desires. That is quite different from examining ancient cultural lifestyles, recognizing timeless principles that never change.


Regarding polygyny (which is actually what is described in the Bible, rather than polygymy), you have to look at all of scripture. Many of God's men were involved in these kinds of relationships (shall I list them?) and not only does God never rebuke them for it, they are often blessed and held up as pillars of the faith. And if God himself gives Moses laws regarding certain types of relationships (hey, rape victims? Guess what? You have to marry your attacker and - joy of joys - he can never divorce you), then it is pretty safe to say that God approves of said types of relationships, being that he directly gave these laws to Moses.

I don't support polygyny ( Ladies, I do not like to share ) but it is undeniable that it is in the Bible.
Polygyny or polygamy - same concept. Again, I'm not saying there aren't examples in the Bible, but they were not how God intended it. He absolutely rebuked them for it. He also blessed them for repenting of their sins. Like I said before if you are trying to justify polygyny because God never rebukes them for it, then you might want to read the Bible again.

Those specific examples of laws of Moses are the exact kind of contextual identification I was talking about. Are you a BC Hebrew? Nevertheless, it is a far stretch to assume that God approves of "said types of relationships". That's simply preposterous and irresponsible.

It is fine that you want to pick and choose in the Bible. Ignore the polygyny. Ignore the incestuous sex. Ignore the times virgins were forced into unions with the people who just murdered their fathers, mothers, brothers and friends. Ignore the slave rape. Etc. Pretend that "doesn't count" because it is inconvenient to consider those verses in the Bible.
I don't "ignore" anything. The examples you gave are not how God intended it to be. You can mention many examples, but interesting you don't take the time to mention the cultural context that surrounds those examples. Nevertheless, there are still applicable life principles and lessons to be taken from those examples even if it is not part of our present culture.

Go back to Adam and Eve and say that is the model for marriage. Point out that Jesus did the same ( Jesus does reference Adam and Eve when discussing divorce. I assume, Lucas, that you are equally against divorce and think it should be illegal, too, since Jesus discussed divorce. What?? You can be against divorce and still think it should be legal??? Hmmmmmm....... then maybe you can realize gay marriage won't cause the Earth to explode. When it is the law of the land, you will be free to disagree with it). Ignore all the many,many, many other types of sanctioned marriages and relationships described in the Bible. Choose what fits your worldview. Pick and choose which verses to focus on and which you will disregard. Everyone does that because it is necessary when things are often contradictory and murky. And the Bible must be interpreted. Fine.
Just because there are stories and examples of different types of marriages in the Bible doesn't mean that God endorsed them or sanctioned them.

If you are of the mindset that allowing legalized homosexual marriages is harmless, then why not fully open the doors for polygyny, polygymy lower age limits for marriage, arranged marriages, bestiality... and every other desire a person wants? I mean after all... the Earth isn't going to explode... right?

I'm not picking and choosing any verse to disregard.
I do try my best to be hermeneutically responsible, however.

[/quote] But at the very least, acknowledge that others are doing exactly what you are doing: applying a hermeneutic to their Bible interpretation, parsing through often contradictory verses, looking at historical context and overriding principals. And in doing so, coming up with an entirely different conclusion than yours.[/QUOTE]

Sure I can acknowledge that others are applying a hermeneutical Bible interpretation... but is it correct? Most, if not all responsible theologians - both past and present - will also tell you that homosexual intimacy is simply a sin.

Yes, there are SOME interpretations that are debatable and some that seem contradictory, but homosexual acts isn't one of them. It isn't MY conclusion... it's from God's word.
 

lucas mccain

Triple Platinum
#72
Lucas, I know there is nothing I could say to convince you it isn't. Okay. But you will still be able to attend your church, hold your opinions, remain married to your spouse, etc. when gay marriage is legalized in the future. As long as you don't break any laws, not much will change for you.
Even if that were true it still doesn't make it right.
And you have no idea what the repercussions are if the definition of marriage is changed. God will not be mocked. That's the thing with sin, it deceives. God will only tolerate it for so long.
 
#73
Even if that were true it still doesn't make it right.
And you have no idea what the repercussions are if the definition of marriage is changed. God will not be mocked. That's the thing with sin, it deceives. God will only tolerate it for so long.
Yeah, we just aren't going to agree. Well, it's been fun!
 
#74
I don't agree with your last sentence. You are simply trying to justify foundational truths set forth in the Bible to fit your own desires. That is quite different from examining ancient cultural lifestyles, recognizing timeless principles that never change.




Polygyny or polygamy - same concept. Again, I'm not saying there aren't examples in the Bible, but they were not how God intended it. He absolutely rebuked them for it. He also blessed them for repenting of their sins. Like I said before if you are trying to justify polygyny because God never rebukes them for it, then you might want to read the Bible again.

Those specific examples of laws of Moses are the exact kind of contextual identification I was talking about. Are you a BC Hebrew? Nevertheless, it is a far stretch to assume that God approves of "said types of relationships". That's simply preposterous and irresponsible.



I don't "ignore" anything. The examples you gave are not how God intended it to be. You can mention many examples, but interesting you don't take the time to mention the cultural context that surrounds those examples. Nevertheless, there are still applicable life principles and lessons to be taken from those examples even if it is not part of our present culture.



Just because there are stories and examples of different types of marriages in the Bible doesn't mean that God endorsed them or sanctioned them.

If you are of the mindset that allowing legalized homosexual marriages is harmless, then why not fully open the doors for polygyny, polygymy lower age limits for marriage, arranged marriages, bestiality... and every other desire a person wants? I mean after all... the Earth isn't going to explode... right?

I'm not picking and choosing any verse to disregard.
I do try my best to be hermeneutically responsible, however.
But at the very least, acknowledge that others are doing exactly what you are doing: applying a hermeneutic to their Bible interpretation, parsing through often contradictory verses, looking at historical context and overriding principals. And in doing so, coming up with an entirely different conclusion than yours.[/QUOTE]

Sure I can acknowledge that others are applying a hermeneutical Bible interpretation... but is it correct? Most, if not all responsible theologians - both past and present - will also tell you that homosexual intimacy is simply a sin.

Yes, there are SOME interpretations that are debatable and some that seem contradictory, but homosexual acts isn't one of them. It isn't MY conclusion... it's from God's word.[/QUOTE]


There are different interpretations of those anti-gay clobber verses. You may not agree with those interpretations but they do exist. Rehashing these issues, debating whose theologians possess a superior understanding, etc. .... It is starting to feel like banging my head against a brick wall (and I don't want to mess up my hair). Marriage equality continues it march forward, come what may ...
 
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#76
I like the idea of sin. Of course, I don't believe in sin because I do not believe there is divine law. I feel guilty for doing certain things sometimes, but it's not because someone told me I'm bad. Moreover, I don't go to confession or fast or any of the other silly practices used to repent. I go to the source, if possible, and try to make amends.

And I liked LM's comment on god only tolerating stuff for so long. I'm curious as to how long that is. If we simply look at the atrocities committed by people over the short recorded history we have, one can easily and very simply ask 'What the h*ll do we have to do to finally make god say enough is enough?' God never intervenes in these atrocities, allows them to occur, persist, and analogies recur. I'm very curious to know what lengths we have to go to to load that last straw on the old camel's back.
 
#78
And I liked LM's comment on god only tolerating stuff for so long. I'm curious as to how long that is. If we simply look at the atrocities committed by people over the short recorded history we have, one can easily and very simply ask 'What the h*ll do we have to do to finally make god say enough is enough?' God never intervenes in these atrocities, allows them to occur, persist, and analogies recur. I'm very curious to know what lengths we have to go to to load that last straw on the old camel's back.
+1 this.
Hitler kills millions of Jews and others. But he's worried that gay marriage is going to bring on the Apocalypse? ... seriously
 
#79
+1 this.
Hitler kills millions of Jews and others. But he's worried that gay marriage is going to bring on the Apocalypse? ... seriously
Last month, I read a really good book dealing with these issues. God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer by
Bart D. Ehrman

Very thought provoking. I'm currently reading another one of Ehrman's books.

The development of the concept of heaven and hell was partly the result of people being frustrated at God's silence. Believing in an after life gave people a way to believe at least there would someday (after death) be a place where goodness was rewarded and evil punished.
 
#80
Last month, I read a really good book dealing with these issues. God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer by
Bart D. Ehrman

Very thought provoking. I'm currently reading another one of Ehrman's books.

The development of the concept of heaven and hell was partly the result of people being frustrated at God's silence. Believing in an after life gave people a way to believe at least there would someday (after death) be a place where goodness was rewarded and evil punished.
You have put so much thought into this subject. I admire that.
I gave up much quicker.
I wonder what you would discover if you pondered the existence of Santa Claus with as much fervor as you do religion. :)